NEWSLETTERS - K2 Expedition 2015

K2 Expedition #5 -The Daily Moraine 20157 July 2015

Good weather, good progress.

I have just heard that we are moving at 1m per day as the Baltoro Glacier makes its way towards the sea. (Although I somehow doubt this bit of news) but if it is true that means that we are getting further away from the summit of K2 each day, but to look at the bright side, we will have less distance to walk when we head back home !!

K2 from BP-C1

K2 from BP-C1

We hear that there are heat waves in lower Pakistan and also in the UK, but we are also having the same here at K2 Base Camp with daily temperatures somewhere between 25 – 30c. This is somewhat of a surprise for me as I have always read and heard of the terrible weather conditions and prolonged storms that prevail on the “savage mountain”. I suspect that we will have our time yet to come.

However K2 did give us a great display of just how savage she can be a few days ago, and it was a great learning lesson for us all, especially myself. During the day we had no less than 5 major avalanches that came down the slopes, one of which the snow dust cloud enveloped the Base Camp for a few moments, although this was of no danger to us. But there was evidence of at least 3 other avalanches that must have occurred during the night. These avalanches were triggered by wind slab releases from the various bowls that are high on the mountain. I must say that I regretted that I did not bring the climbers that day back off the hill early on, when I spoke to Shinji by radio about this danger. I had noticed the transportation of snow by the wind near the summit, and was concerned, but Shinji reported that he was well established on the Cessen Ridge and was out of danger. This proved to be correct as the first of these avalanches came down. Many people had told me that the Cessen Route was a little more technical, but that it was safer from avalanche, so it was reassuring to see that this information was correct. However I was not expecting this same bowl to release 3 times in one day as it eventually did. Lesson learnt, and we will keep a much better eye on this in the future.

Panorama from BP-C2

Panorama from BP-C2

But none the less we have been making very good use of the full moon and the fine, calm, warm weather, and have fixed rope to C2 (6,200m) on Broad Peak and have also fixed rope to C2 (6,260m) on K2. We have now established that we will not use the normal camps 1 on both mountains as it is only taking us between 5 – 7 hours to reach these respective camps from BC.

Last night Woody, Rene, David, Semba, Nick, Sergey and Billi spent the night at BP-C2 and Naoki was act BP-C1. Tonight Nick, Sergey, Naoki and Billi will stay at BP-C2 for a second night and at the same time Shinji, Valdis, Herbert, Bo and Roche will spend the night at K2-C2. They are accompanied by 4 Sherpas, Ngwang, Nima, Tashi and Tenzing who will be fixing rope towards C3 tomorrow. Our team is camped alongside the Swiss Team that is led by Mike Horn, who is an old friend from many years back when I used to work on a special shapes balloon team in Chateau Doex. We are able to reminisce about how difficult it was to inflate and deflate the Motorola Mobile Phone special shape balloon.

We have at last also been able to make progress with our satellite communications. When my communications tent was blown away by the avalanche at Everest Base Camp I lost many of my SIM cards, which needed to be replaced. However the new SIM cards needed an obscure password removing in order to make them operate. After many phone calls to technical support we eventually found the problem, and are now able to use our normal satellite equipment, which is a great relief.

The Meteotest forecast remains good for the next few days so we will continue to push hard with the K2 route. There are many teams on Broad Peak so we feel that some of these teams can now push the route higher on this summit.

Time to put on more sun cream and venture out to do my laundry which dries in a matter of minutes in the blistering heat.